Mineral exploration in the Cockermouth area, Cumbria. Part 2: follow-up surveys

Cooper, D.C.; Cameron, D.G.; Young, B.; Chacksfield, B.C.; Cornwell, J.D.. 1992 Mineral exploration in the Cockermouth area, Cumbria. Part 2: follow-up surveys. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 74pp. (WF/92/003, Mineral Reconnaissance Programme report 122) (Unpublished)

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This report describes the results of geochemical, geological and geophysical surveys across three small areas of Carboniferous and Lower Palaeozoic rocks along the northern margin of the English Lake District. The areas were chosen from the appraisal of regional-scale survey data described by Cooper et al. (1991). In two of the areas, Ruthwaite and Tallentire, the objective was to provide more information on the extent and magnitude of fracture-controlled epigenetic baryte and base metal mineralisation. In the third area, at Whitrigg, brief surveys were carried out to aid the interpretation of unexplained geochemical and geophysical anomalies found during two projects carried out under the Mineral Exploration and Investment Grants Act (MEIGA). At Ruthwaite, where a mine formerly worked baryte from a fault separating Lower Palaeozoic and Carboniferous rocks, surface indications of further baryte mineralisation were found. Soil analyses indicated that mineralisation may be present along the continuation of the faultline worked at Ruthwaite and in the Eycott Volcanic Group rocks to the south of it. In this area relatively small, but in some circumstances perhaps economically attractive, deposits of baryte may be present under drift cover. In the Tallentire Hill area, geological mapping followed by traverse-based soil sampling showed that fracture-controlled mineralisation is widespread in the Carboniferous (Dinantian and Namurian) rocks. The fracture fillings consist dominantly of baryte, often accompanied by carbonate, with traces of copper and mercury. Where seen at surface the fracture fillings are too small, patchy and low-grade to be of any economic importance. Baryte mineralisation also occurs locally as patchy impregnations in sandstones. These are considered to be epigenetic deposits related to the fracture-controlled mineralisation. Trial geophysical surveys suggested that electrical methods may be useful in determining the extent of the mineralised sandstone. There is a possibility that more extensive baryte deposits may be present in the limestone succession underlying the mineralised sandstones. In the Whitrigg area, Carboniferous rocks are separated from Lower Palaeozoic rocks of the Eycott Volcanic Group by the easterly-trending Boundary Fault and north-westerly-trending Bothel Fault. Evidence from an old mineral working and the results of a soil survey indicate that patchy, epigenetic, fracture-controlled baryte and base metal mineralisation occurs along the Bothel Fault and, locally, in the adjacent rocks. A feature of this mineralisation is the presence of mercury, which is most abundant in a sample of brecciated and altered rock from the Eycott Volcanic Group. Prominent base metal in soil anomalies discovered by MEIGA-funded projects near Stangerhill are not associated with barium anomalies. It was concluded that these soil anomalies are most likely to be caused by secondary concentration in overburden, and that the source of metals may be a sub-cropping metalliferous horizon within the Carboniferous succession or, more probably, fracture-controlled mineralisation. Trial geophysical surveys carried out in all three areas indicated that in ground free of artificial sources the VLF(EM) and conductivity mapping methods could be useful for tracing faults beneath drift and providing information on drift thickness. Closely-spaced soil sampling proved effective for detecting mineralisation in areas where the drift cover is thin, and a trial soil-gas survey showed that this technique could also be useful for tracing faults beneath drift.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Economic Minerals
Funders/Sponsors: Department of Trade and Industry, British Geological Survey
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed, but not externally peer-reviewed.
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 30 May 2023 10:22 +0 (UTC)

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